World Philippine Congress approves Muslim self-rule bill -

Other countries have done similar things with their Muslim minorities. In Russia, Putin made an arrangement with Chechen warrior Islam Kadyrov to end most of the conflict in the region in exchange for giving him internal control over Chechenya. Kadyrov is also the one responsible for carrying out the extermination campaign against LGBT people in Chechenya.
You mean Ramzan?


Philippines rolls out red carpet for Moro rebels

Historic visit comes as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign Bangsamoro Basic Law

home > asia - pacific 13.07.2018 Ekip Philippines

By Maecy Alviar


High-ranking officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) visited the Philippine military’s headquarters in the capital Thursday, marking another milestone in the peace process between the government and the Bangsamoro people. "On behalf of the soldiers, sailors and airmen, I welcome you to the military headquarters” at Camp Aguinaldo, military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. told the MILF officials as quoted by Rappler, a Philippine news site.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines rolled out the red carpet for MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar and Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sammy Al Mansour as well as their colleagues in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. “We feel honored by the invitation and humbled by the welcome,” said Jaafar. After being handed a white rose symbolizing peace, Jaafar was escorted by Galvez to shake hands with other high-ranking military officials. The historic visit comes as bicameral conference committee meetings are being held in congress to reconcile the conflicting provisions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque last Wednesday announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the BBL into law before he delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 23. Mansour, Galvez’s counterpart in the MILF who heads the rebel group’s armed forces, said their visit is a “fruit of the peace process” which he never thought would happen.

“There is a general who said if you want peace, be prepared for war. That’s not correct. If you really want peace, then be prepared for peace. Without peace…it’s very impossible for us to be here at Camp Aguinaldo,” said Mansour. MILF, the country’s largest Moro separatist group, signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014.

Sorry for this double post but it looks like it's about to happen, and I think making a new thread might be redundant:

Philippines: Duterte to approve autonomous 'Bangsamoro' proposal
The law proposes the creation of a regional parliament and incorporation of Islamic law into the area's justice system.

by JC Gotinga
22 hours ago

Cotabato City, Philippines - The indigenous Moro Muslims, a minority population in the predominantly Christian Philippines, are on the verge of securing their own substantially autonomous territory as Congress hands over a law for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign on Monday.

If all goes according to plan, the Bangsamoro Organic Law will establish the Bangsamoro autonomous region on the country's southern island of Mindanao and may put an end to five decades of violent conflict that has left more than 100,000 people dead. While the law is expected to be signed on Monday, it will still need to be ratified by a plebiscite, which is expected to take place later this year.

The Bangsamoro, which means "Nation of the Moro", will replace a nominally autonomous Muslim region which has largely been run by the central government in Manila, and has failed to quell the Moro rebellion.

The law will allow the Bangsamoro government to have its own parliament, retain the lion's share of local revenues, regularly receive a fixed portion of the central government's revenues and manage the territory's natural resources.

It will also incorporate Islamic law into the region's justice system.

In return for autonomy, the law will require the rebel group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to gradually disband its thousands-strong army.

Despite the bill only covering "85 to 90 percent" of items originally afforded the rebels in a 2014 peace agreement that foreshadowed the measure, leaders of the MILF say they are satisfied.

"This may not be a perfect law but it is good to start with," said Ghazali Jaafar, MILF's second-in-command.

"And, God willing, now that we have this government, we can improve the lives of our people."

Historical tensions
The law's passage will cap off 22 years of negotiations between the MILF and the Philippine government.

"Moro", a term originating from the Spanish word for "Moor", refers to more than 10 million members of several ethnic groups in Mindanao that evaded the Hispanicisation, and Christianisation, of the rest of the Philippines in the 16th to 19th centuries.

The Moro also resisted US colonisation in the early 20th century.

As a result, they retained a culture and heritage quite distinct from the other 90 million Filipinos. This has led to discrimination, neglect and even persecution by the government.

The Moro provinces are among the country's poorest.

In 1970, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was formed and started the first organised Moro rebellion against the Philippines in a bid to establish an independent Islamic state.

Philippines' MILF rebel group 'committed to peace'
When the MNLF settled for autonomy in 1976, a few members split and eventually formed the MILF, which continued fighting for independence.

The MILF first negotiated with the government in 1996 under President Fidel Ramos, but efforts fell through in 1999 when President Joseph Estrada declared "all-out war" against the group. Negotiations restarted in 2001 under President Gloria Arroyo.

A definitive peace deal was signed between the MILF and President Benigno Aquino in October 2012, followed by a "comprehensive agreement" in March 2014.

Congress was already drafting a "Bangsamoro basic law" in January 2015 when a police mission to arrest a target of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah in Maguindanao province resulted in a firefight with MILF fighters. The fiasco discredited the MILF among legislators, who then dropped the Bangsamoro measure from their priorities.

Duterte, who is from Mindanao and claims to be of Moro lineage, promised to establish the Bangsamoro immediately after taking power in 2016. He plans to sign the law as he delivers his yearly State of the Nation Address on Monday.

Local referendum
But before the Bangsamoro can be set up, the organic law will be up for a plebiscite in provinces that would be included in the autonomous territory. The vote is expected to take place before the end of the year.

Worries that the law is a watered-down version of the Moro rebels' demands could prompt voters to reject it.

The law puts power over the territory's police and military solely in the hands of the central government, and prohibits the Bangsamoro government from purchasing weapons and firearms, to prevent further rebellion.

The MILF had wanted several plebiscites to allow more provinces, cities and towns to join the Bangsamoro, but were denied that request.

Teresita Deles, a peace process secretary under Aquino, warned of renewed violence should the Bangsamoro fail to meet the Moro's expectations.

"Too many times having hoped for something that doesn't come true, it's more painful," she told Al Jazeera.

"It makes the situation more hopeless. It may drive people to think of other alternatives."

Other armed groups have splintered from the MNLF and MILF, rejecting autonomy and pushing for secession. If the Bangsamoro turns out to be yet another disappointment, secessionist groups - and bandits - may capitalise on people's frustration to recruit more fighters and shore up support.

'Addressing aspirations'
However, legislators said they could not be too liberal with the measure, and had to make sure it fell within the bounds of the country's constitution.

"We had problems along the way precisely because we could not grant everything they wanted," said congressman Rodolfo Farinas after six days of gruelling deliberations on the law.

Leaders of the MILF, who are poised to take top positions in the Bangsamoro government, had made unsuccessful last-minute attempts to get more out of the measure.

"But in fairness to [the MILF leaders], they accepted everything," Farinas added.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said he was optimistic the agreement would help settle historical tensions in the region.

"We are addressing the aspirations of our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro for self-governance," he said. "So now they'll be able to chart their own path."

It has happened:

Philippine leader approves autonomy law for troubled Muslim region

| July 26, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which gives Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao political and economic powers that successive governments have promised separatists

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte today approved a long-awaited law to allow minority Muslims in the south to start moving towards self-rule by 2022 in a bid to tackle extremism and defuse a half-century of separatist conflict.

The green light is the culmination of a lengthy and rocky peace accord with separatists, during which militants linked to the Islamic State have expanded their influence, most notably in their devastating occupation of the city of Marawi last year.

Duterte signed the measure into law after a visit to a southern city, his spokesman, Harry Roque, told reporters.

Ebrahim Murad, chairman of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said he was confident the law would help bring splinter separatist groups back into the political fold and eliminate prospects of any incidents like Marawi.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law, as the measure is known, has broad public backing, making it harder for foreign extremists to form alliances and win support, he told reporters.

“All these splinter groups are a result of the frustration with the peace process. The moment the small groups no longer accept the foreign elements, they can no longer come (to the Philippines).”

The Bangsamoro area includes part of the Philippines’ second-largest island of Mindanao, as well as a chain of dozens of small islands to the west notorious for piracy and banditry.

An estimated five million Muslims live in the region, which has the Christian-majority nation’s lowest levels of employment, income, education, and economic development.

The momentum behind the autonomy process was “a long-awaited dream coming true”, said Jesus Dureza, Duterte’s leading peace adviser.

The new law gives the new entity, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, political and economic powers that successive governments have promised separatists in order to halt conflict that has killed about 120,000 people, displaced 2 million, and helped radical Islam gain a foothold in the region.

Mindanao remains under martial law until the end of this year to allow security forces to halt a regrouping by a pro-Islamic State alliance that held Marawi through five months of air and ground assaults.

The MILF has condemned the extremists, and its fighters have been helping government troops to disrupt their activities.

Next comes an October referendum, where a positive result would let Duterte appoint an 80-member panel to set up a parliamentary system loosely patterned on Malaysia’s federal government.

MILF leaders have welcomed the Bangsamoro law, even if all their demands were not met.

“We will not stop there, we will continue to engage government until amendments are made in the law later to get what we really wanted,” Mohaqher Iqbal, the MILF chief negotiator, told Reuters after the final text was agreed.

Iqbal said the rebels were expected to decommission 30% of their 40,000 weapons after the referendum
Although many powers will be devolved, the central government will keep control of security.

Also, smart play by Duterte. Let them have their little shithole of an area with "control." He's already shown them he'll destroy a whole town to wipe them out and last I checked, still has bounties out for any ISIS members. He's far more concerned about the dragon to the north that can do far more and longer lasting damage.
You say this now, but we all know what happened the last time the Islamists were placated in order to fight the Communists:'s_rise_to_power
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The UN welcomes this, does this mean Duterte is on their good side now?

UN welcomes signing of Bangsamoro Organic Law
Published July 28, 2018 01:42 PM

The United Nations hailed on Friday the "landmark" signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

"The Secretary-General welcomes the signing into law of the Organic Law for Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on 26 July, a landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace in southern Philippines," read a statementreleased by the spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres.

"The Secretary-General congratulates negotiators for the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bicameral Conference Committee, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and civil society groups for their efforts," it added.

The UN said it will support the Philippines in implementing the BOL.

"The United Nations will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the law, and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as an effective conduit for peace, democratic governance and human rights," the statement read.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday enacted the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law.

READ: FULL DOCUMENT: Bangsamoro Organic Law (Republic Act 11054)

Congress failed to submit the bill for Duterte's signature in time for his third State of the Nation Address on Monday because of the leadership squabble in the House of Representatives.

The House ratified the reconciled version of the bill the next day.

Duterte earlier promised the nation that he would sign the proposed BOL within 48 hours from the time he received the ratified bill.

The President had been pushing for the enactment of the BOL, which aims to end decades of conflict in Mindanao by creating a political entity that would enjoy greater autonomy than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

On Friday, Duterte asked Moros to give the BOL a chance to pave the way for peace and development in the southern Philippines.

He also called on members of the Abu Sayyaf Group to sit down and negotiate with the government.

"Iyong BBL [Bangsamoro Basic Law] tapos na. Bigyan lang natin ng panahon. Huwag tayong mag-giyera... Wala naman problema mamatay tayo, Mamatay man tayo lahat," Duterte said. —KG, GMA News

An update:

Philippines' Muslim region votes on new autonomy law
Proposed new Bangsamoro envisions a more powerful and possibly larger political unit for country's Muslim minority.

by JC Gotinga
8 minutes ago

Nearly three million Filipinos from the the southern island of Mindanao are set to vote on the new law on Monday [Mark Cristino/EPA]

Manila, Philippines - Nearly three million Filipinos from the country's Muslim-majority southern region are set to decide on a new law which would place them under a substantially more autonomous regional government.

Monday's plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law could make or break the decades-old peace process between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Front), which started out as a secessionist armed movement in the southern island of Mindanao in the late 1970s.

If the "yes" vote wins, the Bangsamoro, which means Moro nation, will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which has been criticised as merely nominal, and failed to end the violent conflict that has left at least 120,000 people dead over the past five decades.

Voters have until 3pm (07:00 GMT) to cast their ballots.

On paper, the proposed new Bangsamoro is a more powerful and possibly larger political unit than the ARMM. It will have its own parliament, some exclusive powers previously held by the government in Manila, and a significantly larger share of local revenues.

Philippines peace: Muslim minority awaits new law (3:01)
Above all, it will mean the end of the Front's armed struggle, with the decommissioning of its 35,000 troops and its leaders taking positions in the new civilian government.

The proposed law also has the backing of President Rodrigo Duterte with his spokesperson confirming it as "a historic piece of legislation in our quest for lasting peace in Mindanao as this would correct the historical injustices committed against the Moro people".

Moro struggle
Numbering roughly six million, the Moro people are considered a minority among the Philippines' population of more than 100 million.

They consist of about a dozen ethnolinguistic groups native to the southwestern Mindanao region, bound together by their practice of Islam in the predominantly Christian archipelago.

A history of prejudice and neglect by the mainstream government has reduced the Moro homeland into one of the country's poorest regions. More than half of their population live below the poverty line, according to government data.

The current Moro rebellion began in 1969 with the establishment of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Led by the charismatic university lecturer Nur Misuari, the group fought the government for an independent state.

The new law seeks to decommission 35,000 rebels in a new civilian government. [Ben Hajan/EPA]
The fighting caused heavy losses and massive devastation in Moro communities, with the MNLF citing atrocities by government forces under the Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

When the MNLF and the government agreed on autonomy in 1976, a faction of the group broke away to form the Moro Islamic Liberation Front the following year and continued fighting for secession.

'Failed experiment'
In 1989, the government under President Corazon Aquino established the ARMM.

However, only a fraction of the Moro territory, four provinces out of more than a dozen, voted for inclusion in the autonomous region.

Dissatisfaction with the ARMM's limited authority became fodder for several other armed groups to continue the rebellion and in some cases, to engage in violent banditry.

Philippines' MILF rebel group 'committed to peace' (2:41)
With the MNLF focused on administering the ARMM, the Front grew to become the largest rebel group in the country and became the frontrunners of the Moro cause. Misuari, the Muslim rebel leader, himself became the regional governor in 1996.

Fighting between the Front and the government went on throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, when President Joseph Estrada declared "all-out war" against the group.

On-and-off negotiations came to a head in 2012 with a basic agreement to establish a stronger autonomous region, which both sides firmed up with more detail in 2014.

The Front hoped it would embody their people's long struggle for self-determination and outdo the ARMM, which then-President Benigno Aquino called a "failed experiment".

A much better deal
A bungled 2015 police operation to arrest a Jemaah Islamiyah-linked fighter in a Front-held area of Maguindanao province dampened public confidence in the group, and the law to create the Bangsamoro sat out several legislative cycles under Aquino's successor, Rodrigo Duterte.

The process picked up again in 2017, after the five-month siege of Marawi City by ISIL-linked fighters highlighted the need for a final peace deal.

Philippines peace deal with Muslim rebels explained (4:22)
After gruelling negotiations between legislators and a Front-led Bangsamoro transition panel, Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law in July 2018.

The Bangsamoro will have a parliamentary government, a justice system based on Islamic law, a 75 percent share of local revenues and a yearly grant from the national government equivalent to five percent of the entire country's revenues.

In Monday's plebiscite, people from several areas excluded from the ARMM will have an option to vote for inclusion in the Bangsamoro, which could expand its territory.

Around 20,000 police and military personnel will guard polling areas, even as the region remains under martial law, to fend off threats from other armed groups - secessionists that would pounce on the chance at supremacy should the Bangsamoro and the Front fail.

But the Front and the government are confident they have struck a much better deal than their predecessors, and that it will have the people's support.

When the law passed in July, the Front panel chairman Ghazali Jaafar said, "We are satisfied. It is not a perfect law, but it is good to start with."
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An update after awhile:

Bangsamoro briefed on Customs operations
September 22, 2019 | 11:16 pm
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TWO national government officials have briefed officials of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao about local government finance and Customs operations for the region.
Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Local Government Finance officials discussed how the newly formed autonomous region can assess local government units and create steps for Customs processing within its jurisdiction, according to a joint statement from the two agencies.
The agencies also explained to Bangsamoro officials how they can coordinate with the National Government when appointing local treasurers.
The Muslim region in a Jan. 21 referendum overwhelmingly favored the creation of a new autonomous body known as Bangsamoro, which will have its own parliament, more political power and greater funding.
Bangsamoro will govern a greater territory than the old autonomous region after Cotabato, one of the more prosperous cities on the island, voted to be included. — Beatrice M. Laforga
Stuff that's happened since:

Duterte names ex-ARMM official, youth activist as Bangsamoro gov't members
Rasol Mitmug Jr and Jam Disimban Ramos are appointed to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, bringing its membership to 78 out of the required 80
Pia Ranada
Published 3:28 PM, September 13, 2019
Updated 4:27 PM, September 13, 2019

NEW GOVERNMENT. BTA members gather for BARMM's inauguration in March 2019. Malacañang file photo

NEW GOVERNMENT. BTA members gather for BARMM's inauguration in March 2019. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed two more members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), bringing its composition to 78 members out of the 80 required by the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Rasol Mitmug Jr, former chief of staff of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Mujiv Hataman, was appointed on September 6, according to appointment papers obtained by Rappler.

This was confirmed by the Malacañang Records Office on Friday, September 13.

Mitmug had also been Department of Education–ARMM secretary.
Diamila "Jam" Disimban Ramos was also appointed BTA member. Ramos is a Maranao youth activist. Her appointment papers were signed on August 13, according to the Malacañang Records Office.
With her appointment, the female BTA members now number 13 out of 78. (READ: Who's who in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority)
Ramos and Mitmug are appointees of the national government. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the former rebel group that championed the BOL, had already named all their appointees but has to appoint one more to replace lawyer Abdul Dataya who passed away in July.
Malacañang is yet to release the appointment paper of Dataya's replacement. –

BARMM adopts official flag as region’s first law
The Bangsamoro flag embodies its people’s 'identity, history, heritage, struggles, and aspiration,' reads the law

Janella Paris

Published 8:16 PM, August 31, 2019
Updated 8:18 PM, August 31, 2019

BANGSAMORO FLAG. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao establishes the region's official flag. Photo from the Facebook page of Majority Leader MP Atty. Lanang Ali Jr.

BANGSAMORO FLAG. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao establishes the region's official flag. Photo from the Facebook page of Majority Leader MP Atty. Lanang Ali Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangsamoro parliament has passed the region’s first law: an act adopting the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) official flag.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), on Friday, August 23, passed Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 1 adopting a Bangsamoro flag that embodied its people’s “identity, history, heritage, struggles, and aspiration.”

The Bangsamoro flag has 4 colors, a crescent, a seven-rayed star, and a kris.
The top third of the flag is green, symbolizing Islamic teachings and principles that the majority of the BARMM population adheres to.
The middle part is white, representing grace, sakina or tranquility (sakina is a principle in the Qur’an), and righteousness.

The bottom third is red, harkening back to fallen mujahideen – or those who had fought for the long-sought autonomy of the Bangsamoro.
The crescent with a seven-rayed star in its center foregrounds the flag’s middle. The crescent symbolizes principles that guided the Bangsamoro people who had fought for self-determination.
The star's 7 rays, meanwhile, represent the 7 provinces and cities that are part of the region: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-tawi; the cities of Marawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato; as well as the 63 barangays that were previously part of North Cotabato.
Finally, below the crescent, is a kris or a traditional Moro sword, stands for protection and resistance, remembering the Bangsamoro and other indigenous people’s history of fighting against “oppression, tyranny, and injustice.” (READ: Now that Bangsamoro law is ratified, what comes next?)
The law requires all Bangsamoro offices, public and private schools, colleges and universities, public offices, government-owned or controlled corporations, and other government instrumentalities to display the new flag.
The region’s new emblem may also be used in ceremonial and symbolic functions, and be reproduced in small sizes if used for this purpose.

This law comes after months of deliberations of the BTA, which held its first session on March 29, the same day that the BARMM was inaugurated. There are at present 76 BTA members, all appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. They are led by Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim (real name Ahod Balawag Ebrahim). –


Cutest commissar this side of the segmentum
Isn't this a nationalist wet dream? Basically the minorities get to fuck off to one small confine of the country away from you while you rule the rest of it?

I honestly don't see why there is so much autism in this thread. What do you want the Philippines to do? Be at war with muslim extremists for the next 20 years?


The prettiest zombie-slayer
True & Honest Fan
Isn't this a nationalist wet dream? Basically the minorities get to fuck off to one small confine of the country away from you while you rule the rest of it?

I honestly don't see why there is so much autism in this thread. What do you want the Philippines to do? Be at war with muslim extremists for the next 20 years?
Rating you Optimistic because you think Muslim extremists offer any options outside of war or surrender.


Cutest commissar this side of the segmentum
Rating you Optimistic because you think Muslim extremists offer any options outside of war or surrender.
Well honestly its worth a shot anyway. As said before in this thread this could give Duterte cause to really fuck some shit up if they "step outside of their zone" so to speak, or if they continue fucking with shit even after getting what they claim to want. At best like others have said this could just be a temporary appeasement while they deal with China.

So yeah, its a good move tbh. Its not like they enforced sharia law all over the country.
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Dragon Kick your ass into the Milky Way.
Do you understand what "self-rule" means? It's more on the level of being a United States state. It doesn't mean they ultimately rule every single thing in their little ghetto.

Whatever you might think about Duterte (I think he is a fascist), he has some sense in that he's trying to resolve internal conflicts in the country before potentially having to face extremely dangerous outsiders, specifically China. He has no room to be weak on that front, even with U.S. support in the Trump era meaning he has someone behind his back.

China is an obvious, serious threat especially since Duterte basically threatened to go to war on them if they don't knock off their bullshit.

He has no time for dealing with Islams at the same time.
This might be a bit tin-foilly, but could china be funneling muslims their way as a means of creating destabilization and unrest?
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This was probably the only solution that would be ignored by the cucked UN, who ignores Chinese Muslim concentration camps, to resolve the muslim question without slaughtering them all or rounding them up.


Don't underestimate Razor-Blade Remi.
This might be a bit tin-foilly, but could china be funneling muslims their way as a means of creating destabilization and unrest?
I have a friend who was a huge Duterte fan, but she's also a Filipino catholic and her theory is exactly that.
Also that Duterte is too fucked up on opioids to give a shit atm....

The Final Troondown

We're All Suberogatory Down Here
Other countries have done similar things with their Muslim minorities. In Russia, Putin made an arrangement with Chechen warrior Islam Kadyrov to end most of the conflict in the region in exchange for giving him internal control over Chechenya. Kadyrov is also the one responsible for carrying out the extermination campaign against LGBT people in Chechenya.

In Indonesia, a majority of the total population is Muslim, but since its a country made up of hundreds of islands, languages, and people groups, most people there live in proximity to other groups. The exception is Aceh, the, the northern tip of the big island Sumatra on the far western end of the country, where sharia law is in full effect. A lot of the Muslim-related violence stories coming from Indonesia come from here.

The tldr version of this is that sometimes leaders tolerate Islamic enclaves to satiate their own extremists and to keep them confined in a sort of quarantine.
tbf the Chechens have behaved since he reduced grozny to rubble and disappeared 5000 of their relatives

personally I'd just airdrop herbicide on their fields and instigate a 'food for good behaviour' program

A few updates:

Bangsamoro Transition Parliament establishes Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation
By CNN Philippines Staff
Published Sep 27, 2019 2:00:41 PM

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is working on plugging the gaps in the rehabilitation of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The BTA on September 26 created the Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation.
"The Special Committee on Marawi will exercise purely plenary powers to inquire, coordinate and recommend to different Ministries in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to bridge the gaps in the intervention assistance to the victims of the siege," Marawi crisis spokesperson and BTA member Zia Alonto Adiong said in a statement Friday.
The committee, Adiong explained, is separate from the ongoing rehabilitation efforts of the government's Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), but will be providing it support.
"Having to exercise its legislative oversight powers, the Special Committee constitutes an accountability mechanism in order to facilitate the identification of projects and programs coming from private partners and international funding institutions to make sure that funds go straight to its target beneficiaries," Adiong said.
October 17 marks the two year anniversary since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi from the Maute rebel group.
The clash between government forces and the rebel group led to the death of 163 government troops and 47 civilians. A total of 847 Maute fighters were killed.
The siege also led to the displacement of 359,680 people living in Marawi.
READ: Timeline: The Marawi crisis
Rehabilitation of the city is currently ongoing, with the government Task Force confident that it would be completed by December 2021.

Maguindanao town declared ‘BIFF-cleared’
By Edwin Fernandez September 28, 2019, 7:00 pm

Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao. (Photo courtesy of Gilmar Lao – Cotabato Media Group)
COTABATO CITY – A town mayor in Maguindanao on Friday said that his town is free from terror elements of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao, asserted such during the Regional Peace and Order Council in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RPOC-BARMM) meeting held at the BARMM compound here.

The mayor said that his constituents’ support to security sectors has made his town cleared from the BIFF.

“It was unprecedented, it never happened in the past,” Ampatuan said of the town's "all-out support" to military and police authorities.

Ampatuan said it was the people who voluntarily provided the police and military of the BIFF’s location and plot to disrupt the town’s peace and order.

“Credit should go to the people who also shun violent extremism,” he said. “Residents, mostly farmers, alert us, the police and the Army when they see BIFF roaming around their villages,” he told the security officials.

Ampatuan said the BIFF forces relocated to areas outside of the municipality after the incident and have not returned since.

Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, who attended the meeting lauded Ampatuan and his people for the determination to reject terrorism.

Sobejana urged other local officials in Maguindanao and other parts of BARMM to emulate the cooperation being displayed by the Rajah Buayan people in "repulsing terrorists threatening to sow terror in their communities." (PNA)

BARMM exec assures Unicef ambassador of support
By Edwin Fernandez and Noel Punzalan September 28, 2019, 4:11 pm

FULL SUPPORT. Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Acting Executive Secretary Abdullah Cusain (2nd right) and BARMM Minister for Indigenous Peoples Affair Melanio Ulama (center)) hand over a memento to singer-actor Gary Valenciano as Unicef chief of field office Andrew Morris and Valenciano’s wife, Angeli, look on. The BARMM officials assured the Unicef representatives that they will support all Unicef programs in the region following Valenciano’s visit to Upi, Maguindanao on Sept. 26, 2019. (Photo courtesy of BPI-BARMM)
COTABATO CITY – An official of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Friday assured United Children’s Fund (Unicef) national ambassador Gary Valenciano that the region is supporting all Unicef programs.

Abdullah Cusain, BARMM acting executive secretary, made the pronouncement after Valenciano, known in showbiz as Mr. Pure Energy, visited the mountain town of North Upi, Maguindanao on Sept. 26 to mingle with the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the area, especially the children.

Before his visit to North Upi, Valenciano paid a courtesy call to the BARMM Office of the Chief Minister here with Cusain and Minister Melanio Ulama of the region’s IPs affairs ministry, accepting him.

Accompanying Valenciano here were his wife Angeli and Andrew Morris, the Unicef chief of the field office, who also both went with the former to North Upi.

“BARMM supports all programs for the benefit of children, especially Moro children,” Cusain said in a statement.

Valenciano’s visit to the upland town forms of Unicef’s campaign to strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of children in the Bangsamoro region.

"Among my advocacies is to make our country polio-free again and to make sure all will be vaccinated," Valenciano told reporters during his North Upi visit.

His visit was also part of the buildup for the observance of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Children in BARMM on Nov. 20, 2019, which will be led by the region’s social services office. (PNA)

BARMM joins Family Week celebration, honors deserving families
By Edwin Fernandez September 23, 2019, 8:21 pm

BARMM FAMILY WEEK. Officials and employees of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage¬¬-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BCH-BARMM) joins the opening program and parade for the 27th National Family Week celebration held inside the BARMM compound in Cotabato City that kicked off Monday (Sept. 23, 2019). It is the first time that the BARMM joined the celebration following the new region’s formation earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of BCH-BARMM)
COTABATO CITY -- The family takes center stage in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as the new political entity joined the celebration of the 27th National Family Week starting Monday.

The weeklong activity kicked off Monday with a parade around Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, the 10-hectare BARMM administrative seat in this city, as joined in by the regional offices and attached agencies.

Spearheaded by the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), the celebration aims to strengthen the Filipino family unity and relationship through meaningful celebration and promotion of Filipino values.

During a short program, lawyer Raissa Jajurie, the MSSD-BARMM minister, stressed the importance of family in the Bangsamoro.

“Family is the basic unit of our society. The stronger the family you have, the stronger the society we can have,” she said. “By the essence of our brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, the Bangsamoro is, indeed, one family that we have to strengthen to continue our national development efforts and initiative," Jajurie said.

Meanwhile, the family of Bangsamoro Grand Mufti Abu Huraira Udasan of the Regional Darul Iftah of the Bangsamoro was hailed as the 2019 Model Family (line agency category), while Hanan Haji Mohammad’s family from Lanao Sur-A was awarded 2019 Huwarang Pamilya from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by the MSSD.

Both families received PHP15,000 cash prize each. Farouk Abbas’ family from Calanogas, Lanao del Sur, the 2018 4Ps awardee for Huwarang Pamilya, was also recognized as one of the participants during the program and received PHP5,000 cash prize.

Special awards were also given to the Office of the Chief Minister for the most number of participants; Minister of Transportation and Communications (MOTC–BARMM) for best T-shirt layout; Ministry of Environment, National Resources and Energy (MENRE-BARMM) as early birds; among others.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples' Affairs (MIPA) also received an award for being the first agency to hang 27th National Family Week banners in its office.

This year’s National Family Week observance carries the theme, “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag, at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino.” (PNA)

A few updates:

Duterte urged to form Bangsamoro intergovernmental relations body
President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to create an intergovernmental relations body deemed critical to the success of the new Bangsamoro region in Mindanao
Pia Ranada
Published 4:00 PM, October 01, 2019
Updated 4:05 PM, October 01, 2019

MINDANAO'S MAN. President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim. Malacañang file photo

MINDANAO'S MAN. President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Bangsamoro officials and advocates called on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately form the intergovernmental relations body (IGR) deemed as "indispensable" to the success of the new Bangsamoro region.


Half a year after the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Duterte has yet to name the members of the IGR.

The IGR is mandated by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to "coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner." (READ: Can't afford to fail: Bangsamoro region weathers birth pains)
BARMM Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim has already informed Malacañang of the region's 7 representatives to the IGR, to be led by Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal.
But Duterte, who has to name the central government's representatives to the group, has yet to do so. It's also up to Duterte to issue an executive order to form the IGR. No document has been released by the Palace as of writing.
Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) spokesman Undersecretary Wilben Mayor told Rappler that their office has recommended Cabinet members to be part of the IGR, but Duterte has yet to act on their recommendation.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, OPAPRU Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are among the suggested IGR members, said Mayor.
Prevent 'collision course'
Bangsamoro advocates, BOL experts, and Bangsamoro officials were one in calling for the immediate formation of the IGR during a forum on Tuesday, October 1, organized by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance.
"The IGR has to be established, the sooner, the better," said Robert Maulana Marohombsar Alonto, a member of the now-defunct Bangsamoro Transition Commission and peace panel negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
An IGR is "indispensable" in preventing a "collision course" between the BARMM and the central government, he said.
Without an IGR to define the parameters of the relationship between the BARMM and the central government, the new region would encounter much confusion in implementing the most basic of its functions.
Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member Don Mustapha Loong, who agrees with the urgent need for an IGR, said the absence of an IGR has already led to confusion.
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"For example, the responsibility of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) national to fund and implement national roads within the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro. There must already be an IGR to talk about the modalities of the implementation without intruding into the sensitive aspects of the autonomy of the Bangsamoro," he told Rappler.
Loong was speaking of a recent proposal from House members hailing from Bangsamoro provinces to create a "National DPWH" office in the BARMM, which drew an objection from BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo who said power over highways and public works now lies with the new government.
Another issue which raised eyebrows of some BTA members was a September 6 memorandum from Interior Secretary Eduardo Año that "directs" local government executives, the BARMM chief minister, and BARMM local government minister "to refrain from using cellular phones when attending to clients."
DILG memorandum sourced by Rappler

DILG memorandum sourced by Rappler

What irked BTA officials was how the document appeared to lump Chief Minister Murad on the same level as Minister Sinarimbo, governors, and mayors.
"It has to be clarified on a national level, how they look at it. Can a secretary of DILG make a memorandum to make the chief minister of the Bangsamoro under it or as a collegial body?" said Loong.
Such tussles and misunderstandings could erupt into irritations that would sour relations between the BARMM and central government.
Return to bad practices
The worst-case scenario would be the ultimate failure of the Bangsamoro government.

Without an IGR, Alonto warned that Bangsamoro officials would again be "reduced to mendicancy," depending on Malacañang for additional funding, even with the provision of a block grant, or having to seek clearance from the Department of Foreign Affairs before accepting international aid, even during calamities.
"Rather than concentrating on building new robust institutions that are catalysts for change during the transition period, Bangsamoro officials will be preoccupied with these digressions," said Alonto.
The lack of an IGR may also herald the return of political patronage as a defining characteristic of central government and Bangsamoro government relations, he added. (READ: Power brokers in the Bangsamoro region)
Other intergovernmental mechanisms that have yet to be formed include the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board, Joint Body for the Zones of Joint Cooperation, Intergovernmental Infrastructure Development Board, and Intergovernmental Energy Board, among others.
"Without the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board, how will corporations in the BARMM pay their taxes? There is no delineation of our boundary, we cannot tax them because they are not yet part of the territorial jurisdiction of the BARMM unless the boundaries are defined," lamented BTA member Jose Lorena.
On the national government's side, Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano agreed that the IGR should have been among the first bodies formed.
"We see that the IGR is really a facility that will hasten things with the national government and Bangsamoro government. This body should have been created even before," he said.
OPAPRU's Mayor said he does not know when Duterte will finally issue the executive order creating the IGR.
Duterte and Murad had agreed to form the body during a meeting last July 10. Nearly 3 months have passed since that meeting.
Alonto ended his speech with an appeal to Duterte, the country's first Mindanaoan president.
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, he ran for the presidency, carrying this hope-inspiring slogan: 'Change has come.' So let it come. We are waiting." –

BARMM rejects ‘national DPWH’ unit to preserve autonomy

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Published October 2, 2019, 10:59 AM
By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Interim Bangsamoro government spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo has explained that the rejection by their regional parliament of Muslim lawmakers’ proposal to infuse into the region a “national DPWH” office was an assertion for essential autonomy.

(Keith Bacongco/ MANILA  BULLETIN)

(Keith Bacongco/ MANILA BULLETIN)


inRead invented by Teads
Sinarimbo, a lawyer, appreciated the intention of eight members of the House of Representatives (HoR) in proposing an office of the “national Department of Public Works and Highways” in the bureaucracy of the Bangsamoro region purportedly to ensure the “smooth” implementation of nationally funded infrastructures in areas of autonomy.
But he quickly added that allowing the proposal to take its course would set a “precedent (that) will surely kill the very essence of autonomy and am sure many of the Moro patriots will not allow this.”

He was referring to eight Muslim HoR members led by House Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman who filed last month House Resolution No. 333 seeking the creation of “National DPWH” units in the bureaucracy of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Hataman, alongside Reps. Ronnie Sinsuat Sr. and Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Munir Arbison of Sulu, Rashidin Matba of Tawi-Tawi, Yasser Balindong and Ansaruddin Adiong of Lanao del Sur, and Amihilda Sangcopan of the Anak Mindanao party-list, believed the BARMM’s Ministry of Public Works and Highway (MPWH) could not ensure efficient proceedings of nationally funded infrastructure projects in the Bangsamoro region.


inRead invented by Teads
All eight solons are from BARMM and four of them had served as elected officials of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They cited in their resolution their perceived inefficiency of the defunct ARMM-DPWH office in relations to construction and maintenance of national infra projects such as highways and bridges.

In the 29-year existence of ARMM, the DPWH central office had designated its field units in Regions 9, 10, and 12 in implementing nationally funded projects as well as maintenance of national highways and bridges in the region, with the ARMM’s DPWH relegated to mere “monitoring.”
House Resolution No. 333 proponents believe that their proposal is possible under the provisions of R.A. 11054, the BARMM charter.
But Sinarimbo, a former ARMM executive secretary now serving as BARMM-Interior and Local Government minister, argued that the BARMM basic law has “no provision” allowing the national government to establish a national DPWH regional office in the Bangsamoro.
Sinarimbo, who helped craft the enabling bill of R.A. 11054, even cited some Supreme Court jurisprudence that sustained the preservation of autonomy in past legal disputes.

The 80-member interim BARMM parliament passed last September 20 Resolution No. 103 “strongly objecting” to the proposed creation of a “national DPWH” in the Bangsamoro region.
The regional resolution was deliberated by 59 parliament members present in a marathon session here, with 40 of them voting affirmatively, nine dissenting, while 10 others abstained.
Sinarimbo said BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim, his cabinet, and the “overwhelming majority” of the regional parliament are unanimous in their belief that nationally funded projects in the Bangsamoro region can proceed smoothly via a memorandum of agreement between the MPWH and the DPWH central office.

Some updates:

PSA to use drones, GPS for precise data gathering in BARMM

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Published October 8, 2019, 9:46 AM
By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is girding to enhance its methods of gathering precise data in component areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, with the use of drones and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.



This was announced by Razulden A. Mangelen, acting PSA regional director for BARMM, at the kickoff celebration of the 30th National Statistics Month (NSM) on Monday, Oct. 7 at the autonomous government compound here.
“In the very near future, we will venture into statistical innovations such as business intelligence, analytics, visualization, machine learning, and internet of things for the overall improvement in data-gathering system,” Mangelen said.

“Through effective innovations, the Bangsamoro people will be assured of the achievement of its long-term vision of a simple and comfortable life for all BARMM constituents,” Mangelen added.
Rank and file work forces from different BARMM line ministries and offices joined Mangelen and his staff in launching activities for the celebration of the 30th NSM in the Bangsamoro region under the theme – “Data Innovation: Key to a Better Nation.”

The annual celebration is done every October pursuant to Proclamation No. 647, s.1990, by then President Corazon C. Aquino, the PSA field office and the BARMM’s Regional Statistical Services Office (RSSO said.
Mangelen’s announcement drew positive reactions from various sectors within and outside the Bangsamoro region. The infant region replaced the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and covers the provinces of Lanao del Sur (including Marawi City), Basilan (including Lamitan City), Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns.

Citing statistical records, the national government for decades had classified ARMM as the second “poorest” region in the country, and Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu as among the “10 poorest provinces.”
Former ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman had questioned the veracity of data involved in the national assessment, even as he contemplated to make representations with the central government for the gathering of more accurate data about the areas of regional autonomy. But his plan was overtaken by the abolition of ARMM and its replacement by BARMM early this year.
New Mindanao Development Authority (Mindanao) Chair Manny Piñol also cast doubt on the reliability of current statistics about socio-economic standings of the Bangsamoro areas, particularly Lanao del Sur being tagged as the country’s poorest province.

Sec. Piñol said that in his visits to Lanao del Sur during his incumbency as agriculture chief, he found majority of individuals in Lanao del Sur living affluent lives as indicated by their ownership of sports utility vehicles.
He raised the possibility of “mere estimation” in the previous gathering of statistics in the autonomous region, saying data collectors could have not done house-to-house surveys in Lanao del Sur.
He said he would task his technical people in MinDA to initiate steps that could lead to the gathering of more precise data about Lanao del Sur and other parts of BARMM, to which President Duterte had designated him as “point man” about four months ago.

Handing over weapons: M.I.L.F. combatants commit to peace in the Bangsamoro
Anna Cahill|Published 07. Oct 2019
Philippines NORCAP NORDEM Peacebuilding
The ceremonial presentation of over 1,000 decommissioned M.I.L.F. combatants and their surrendered weapons marked a new milestone in the Bangsamoro’s historical peace process. Experts from NORDEM continue to play key roles in the operation.
On the Philippines’ southern-most island of Mindanao is a Muslim-majority region called the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro’s indigenous Muslim population stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Philippines’ overwhelming Christian majority and has experienced long-standing discrimination, violence and displacement. Now, after four decades of conflict between the Philippines Government and Moro Muslim armed groups in the region, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (M.I.L.F.), peace is finally taking hold.
The Philippines Government and the M.I.L.F. signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014, concluding 17 years of peace negotiations between the two parties. In accordance with the agreement, the armed branch of the M.I.L.F. is handing over its weapons and transitioning to civilian life.
To facilitate this process, the government and M.I.L.F. jointly established the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB). Filling out its roster of more than 90 staff members are local Filipinos, liaison officers from the Philippines Government and the M.I.L.F., and international experts from Norway, Turkey and Brunei.
Norway’s four experts are deployed from NORDEM, NORCAP’s civilian capacity for democracy and human rights. NORCAP began its involvement in the Philippines’ peace process in 2010 by supporting the ceasefire monitoring mechanism in Mindanao called the International Monitoring Team (IMT). In 2015, this support shifted to the IDB. One NORCAP expert, William Hovland, is currently serving on the board of the IDB as Vice-Chairman, while another, Terje Skjølsvik, serves as the IDB’s chief of staff.
According to Skjølsvik, the main task of the international presence is to ensure the impartiality of the decommissioning process.
“Most of the activity is carried out by the rest of the staff, but we make sure that it’s going in the right direction and that everything that has been written in the agreement is being upheld,” he says.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (far left) with IDB staff, including Terje Skjølsvik (far right), at the ceremonial launch of the second phase of M.I.L.F. decommissioning on September 7th. Photo: IDB

Decommissioning combatants

The decommissioning of the M.I.L.F. is to be carried out in four phases. The first phase, which was completed in June, 2015, consisted of a ceremonial decommissioning of 145 combatants and 75 weapons. The subsequent three phases will gradually decommission the entire M.I.L.F., with each phase targeting a set of 30-35% of the total combatants. On September 7th, the IDB officially began phase 2, the first phase of systematic decommissioning.
Throughout the decommissioning, combatants and weapons are kept separate. The process starts when M.I.L.F. collects weapons and ammunition and sends them in boxes to the IDB, where they are checked for safety and functionality, registered into a database, and finally transferred to a secure storage area to remain until eventually being destroyed in phase 4.
As for the combatants, they are transported to a decommissioning location where they are taken through a registration procedure and receive an ID card confirming that they have been decommissioned. For the IDB staff on the ground, this step is executed at a demanding pace.
“Before lunch, we normally call in 106 combatants because, the way the M.I.L.F. is set up, they are decommissioning 106 persons from each of their subunits in this phase, so we call in one subunit at a time. Then, we start doing the process with them – decommissioning, identification, interviews and so on. We generally use 2-2.5 hours for this, then a lunch break, and then at 12.00, we decommission 106 more. This is more or less the daily routine from now until we are done with phase 2,” explains Skjølsvik. He expects to complete phase 2 by April 2020.
Once decommissioned by the IDB, ex-combatants are transferred to the Task Force on Decommissioned Combatants and Their Communities, which is responsible for issuing socio-economic packages and following up on ex-combatants for the next couple years, supporting their integration into civilian life.
Launching the second phase
On September 7th, the IDB organised a ceremony in Cotabato City to officially commence phase 2. At the event, over 1,000 weapons and decommissioned combatants were presented to the Philippines Government and dignitaries, among them President Rodrigo Duterte. On his arrival, Duterte was greeted by the chairman of the IDB and led through stations depicting the different stages of the decommissioning process. This was followed by speeches and the exposition of decomissioned weapons. The high-security venue accommodated over 300 VIPs and included a tented area outside where combatants and their families could watch the ceremony on screens.
“For the combatants, being decommissioned is a complete change of life. It gives them a new opportunity to be included in society and to function as normal people, not having to worry about arrests and uncertainties,” says Skjølsvik.
The decommissioning is expected to bring relief to the rest of the Bangsamoro community as well, where the large number of weapons in the region can pose safety risks.
“Getting these military-style weapons out is important to reduce the number available for committing crimes and sorting out family feuds and so forth,” Skjølsvik adds.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte meets a decommissioned M.I.L.F. combatant on stage at the ceremonial launch of the second phase of decommissioning on September 7th. Photo: IDB

The future of the Bangsamoro

While the decommissioning of M.I.L.F. combatants is an important aspect of the peace process, achieving peace in Mindanao will benefit the region in ways beyond just curbing violence.
“This area of the Philippines is lagging in all the social statistics when it comes to education, health, income and so on. It has been very difficult to invest in the area because of the conflict. If they are now able to establish some peace and order, that will give this area the opportunity to catch up with the rest of the country,” explains Skjølsvik.
Political developments will also follow the peace process in the Bangsamoro as the M.I.L.F. evolves from an armed group to a political party.
In 2018, President Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, leading to a plebiscite creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and a Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). The BTA is the interim government in the region, composed of 80 members, of which 41 come from the M.I.L.F. and 39 from the Philippines Government. It will be replaced with an elected government in 2022 when the BARMM holds its first election.
“The M.I.L.F. has taken political posts in the Transitional Authority, so they have political power, but they have not been elected. Of course, if they are going to continue, they will have to win an election. It’s going to be a big challenge for the M.I.L.F. to take the opportunity they have been given and show that they are able to provide services to people,” says Skjølsvik.

The IDB expects to complete the decommissioning of the M.I.L.F. by 2022. Until then, continued commitment and goodwill from the group will be key for a peaceful and autonomous future Bangsamoro.

OPINION: A National DPWH in BARMM is a step back
Edmund Tayao
Posted at Oct 07 2019 12:35 PM
Only seven months after the turnover of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), there came a proposal at the House of Representatives to create a “National Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)". The pretext is to “ensure the smooth implementation of the DPWH’s national program in the newly created region”, which gives one reason to agree outright. But this is not a simple question of effectiveness and implementation. It is, in the first place, not a simple issue and requires thorough reflection.

Addressing the issue has far-reaching implications. To have an effective infrastructure program that is efficiently implemented is imperative, but the question of how is dependent on an elaborate system. It has to be noted why, in the first place, autonomy became a key policy under the 1987 Constitution, which specifically mentioned Muslim Mindanao as a region. Re-nationalizing the department might even further complicate the problems in the region or even restore the problems, including the inherent weaknesses of centralization.

Decentralization is an approach that has been adopted by many countries as a strategy for better public administration, which has been identified as fundamental in achieving development. Yes, it is one of the many political reforms introduced in the 1987 Constitution, but it is not just a political tool.

Decentralization is seen as a political reform measure because it expands political representation and participation. Because local governments are given powers that basically allow them to make important decisions without having to wait or depend entirely on the national government, it is now difficult to consolidate national political power without requiring the buy-in of local political leaders.

If given much thought, it will show that more than a political measure, it is in fact an organizing principle called “subsidiarity”. This power of local governments to make important decision makes decentralization a substantial public administration reform. Many countries have been ruled centrally for ages but it has been seen time and again that it is always a challenge for national government agencies to cover the whole country and effectively carry out their mandates. In most countries, the key in delineating functions is that policy-making is mainly at the national level, while implementation is primarily with the local level.

Even policy-making should be defined in such a way that standards are set at the national level. The whole point in this is that the national perspective is broad but can only be comprehensive with details that only the local level can provide. Local governments can already do policies aimed at defining implementation, adapting it to the particular context at the local level.

Considering that the introduction of decentralization essentially altered the political dynamics in the country, one can only imagine how difficult it was to put it in place. It took 5 years for the then Cory Aquino administration to enact a law that will put form to the principle provided in the constitution, and it was also auspicious to have a leader who understood local governance then--former Cagayan De Oro Mayor Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel Jr.

It remains the same law up to now, however. There have been several attempts to revise it but none succeeded. Again, this only demonstrates the difficulty of pursuing a comprehensive, game-changing reform measure. There is even a provision in the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC) requiring a “comprehensive review” every 5 years, precisely to revise it after much-needed thorough review. It was already anticipated because it effectively alters the long-standing political and administrative framework of the country. It is entirely new and thus entails continued correcting to make it work. Sadly and noticeably, not even a comprehensive review has been undertaken.

If this shows how difficult it was to introduce decentralization, imagine how arduous it was for Mindanao to attain autonomy. Partisanship is part of politics and policy-making. Understandably, it cannot be avoided regardless of the sacrifice spent in attaining autonomy. If the objective, however, is to achieve effectiveness, it cannot be answered only by choosing between decentralization and centralization in general. Again, decentralization has been proven to be a more effective organizing principle. If it failed in ARMM before, it might not be due to the principle of decentralization but more on how it was practiced then.

There are so many studies done on the ARMM, enough to draw conclusions on whether or not it was “a failure.” Just like decentralization, if there had been significant limitations that would constitute a failure, it is not because powers were given below but more because the national government did not actually let go of the powers or did not do enough to prepare and support the local governments until they could actually make it on their own.

Consider revenue generation alone. ARMM then was said to be unable to generate enough regional revenue to support its development initiatives. Note that compared to local governments, ARMM was given greater means to generate revenues. That it failed is true but not because the regional government was not capable of raising regional revenues, they were prevented from raising it. They simply could not collect the revenues.

Everything still depended on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). How the bureau is organized cannot or simply was not adapted to conform to the regional government’s mandate, structure, and jurisdiction. It was more a problem of tax administration, not of competence. It will even be useful to determine the competence of the regional government personnel then and now and it might be a surprise for some to find out they are as qualified as they are competent.

The same story could be drawn in the case of decentralization in local governments. Devolved services like health, agriculture and social welfare have been difficult to absorb and perform adequately by the local governments. Consequently, similar to the recent proposal to have a national DPWH in BARMM, there had been several, in fact, persistent proposals to have these services renationalized. Like clockwork, decentralization is blamed for the failure of local governments to perform devolved functions without benefit of assessment, and without taking into consideration that the reason why decentralization was put in place is precisely because of limitations in the delivery of public services.

There is no way we can enjoy the benefits of decentralization since the way it has been implemented has been tepid at best. The constitution is quite robust in establishing decentralization, and compared to other reform provisions that remain unimplemented, legislation was successfully passed to put it to action. It all stopped there though; there was no follow through that could have completed all the necessary complements.

So, whenever it is argued that all we have to do is implement the Local Government Code (LGC) in full and more, and then we will achieve true empowerment and development at the regional and local level, I would say this is just another propaganda. Its intent can only be to frustrate further reforms as we have explained in an earlier piece, What further decentralization?
It will remain a vicious circle since there remains a bias against local governance, and this is supposedly because it has not achieved what was supposed to be achieved with its enactment. Decentralization will never achieve or deliver what it was intended to, not with the continued focus on power and efforts to undermine it.

Hopefully, BARMM is not undermined by the same tendencies.
The national government has always been afraid of losing power, without realizing that power, defined as "effectiveness to carry out its mandate," is weakened precisely because of its unwillingness to share power. If BARMM and local governments are not supported, development can never be achieved and we will be left behind further than we already are.

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The Kiwi Farms is about eccentric individuals and communities on the Internet. We call them lolcows because they can be milked for amusement or laughs. Our community is bizarrely diverse and spectators are encouraged to join the discussion.

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How to Help

The Kiwi Farms is constantly attacked by insane people and very expensive to run. It would not be here without community support.

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